After the discovery that elements were commonly composed of isotopes, there developed a range of studies of the variability of isotopic compositions in Earth materials, which was able to add to our understanding of Earth processes and history.

This collection of chapters from the Treatise on Geochemistry describes the range of isotopic studies. The chapters are grouped into the following categories: light stable isotopes, radiogenic tracers, noble gases and radioactive tracers. The first three groups depend on mass spectrometric measurements. The section on radioactive tracers employs both radioactive counting techniques and the newly developed accelerator mass spectrometric techniques.

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Table of Contents

A. Light stable isotopes
1. Planetary
Chapter 1: Oxygen isotopes in meteorites
Chapter 2: Structural and isotopic analysis of organic matter in carbonaceous chondrites
Chapter 3: Trace element and isotopic fluxes/subducted slab
2. Atmosphere and hydrosphere
Chapter 4: Nonmass-dependent isotopic fractionation processes: Mechanisms and recent observations in terrestrial
and extraterrestrial environments
Chapter 5: The stable isotopic composition of atmospheric CO2
Chapter 6: Water stable isotopes: Atmospheric composition and applications in Polar ice core studies
Chapter 7: Stable isotope applications in hydrologic studies
Chapter 8: Elemental and isotopic proxies of past ocean temperatures
Chapter 9: Sulfur-rich sediments
Chapter 10: Stable isotopes in the sedimentary record
Chapter 11: The global oxygen cycle
Chapter 12: High-molecular-weight petrogenic and pyrogenic hydrocarbons in aquatic environments

B. Radioactive tracers
Chapter 13: Radiocarbon
Chapter 14: Natural radionuclides in the atmosphere

C. Noble gases
Chapter 15: Noble gases
Chapter 16: The origin of noble gases and major volatiles in the terrestrial planets
Chapter 17: Noble gases as mantle tracers

D. Radiogenic isotopes
Chapter 18: Sampling mantle heterogeneities through oceanic basalts: Isotopes and trace elements
Chapter 19: Radiogenic isotopes in weathering and hydrology
Chapter 20: Long-lived isotopic tracers in oceanography, paleoceanography and ice-sheet dynamics
Chapter 21: Records of Cenozoic ocean chemistry

Appendix 1
Appendix 2
Appendix 3
Appendix 4


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© 2011
Academic Press
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About the authors

Heinrich D Holland

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Pennsylvania, USA

Karl Turekian

KARL KAREKIN TUREKIAN (1927–2013) Karl Turekian was a man of remarkable scientific breadth, with innumerable important contributions to marine geochemistry, atmospheric chemistry, cosmochemistry, and global geochemical cycles. He was mentor to a long list of students, postdocs, and faculty (at Yale and elsewhere), a leader in geochemistry, a prolific author and editor, and had a profound influence in shaping his department at Yale University. In 1949 Karl joined a graduate program in the new field of geochemistry at Columbia University under Larry Kulp with students Dick Holland and his fellow Wheaton alums Wally Broecker and Paul Gast. This was a propitious time as Columbia’s Lamont Geological Observatory had only been established a few years beforehand. It was during these years that Karl began to acquire the skills that led to his rapid emergence as a leader in geochemistry. After a brief postdoc at Columbia, Karl accepted a position as Assistant Professor of Geology at Yale University in 1956, where he set out to create a program in geochemistry from scratch. Karl spent the rest of his life on the Yale faculty and was immersed in geochemistry to the end. He was deeply involved in editing this edition of the massive Treatise on Geochemistry, which has grown to 15 volumes, until only a month before his passing away on 15 March 2013. Karl turned to the study of deep-sea cores and especially the analysis of trace elements to study the wide variety of geochemical processes that are recorded there. His work with Hans Wedepohl in writing and tabulating the Handbook of Geochemistry (Turekian, 1969) was a major accomplishment and this work was utilized by many generations of geochemists. Teaming up with his graduate students and in association with Paul Gast, he developed a mass spectrometry lab at Yale and began to thoroughly investigate the Rb–Sr isotopic systematics of deep-sea clays, not only as repositories but also as sites for exchange to occur and s

Affiliations and Expertise

Yale University, Connecticut, USA